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Coles customer awarded $27,000 after slipping on grape

A Coles shopper has been awarded more than $27,000 in compensation after slipping on grape in a Canberra store.

The woman was walking past the meat display in the Woden store on September 23, 2017, when she fell, injuring her right leg. While the shopper initially failed in her first bid for compensation in March this year, the Court of Appeal ruled in her favour on Friday.

A Coles employee told the court grapes were the most common item that caused customers to fall in store. She said grapes would get dropped on the ground because customers would eat them as they shopped around the store.

Source: Google Maps
The shopper slipped on the grape outside the meat section in the Coles Woden store. Source: Google Maps

The Supreme Court judge in March found Coles had not breached its duty of care, however the Court of Appeal disagreed. They looked closely at the supermarket’s cleaning system, where professional cleaners were employed to work before and after the store opened. During opening hours, it was up to staff to maintain a “clean as you go” system.

“The appellant’s fall occurred six hours and 32 minutes after opening. Accordingly, there had been no specific cleaning during this period. Safety for this period relied entirely upon staff, going about their normal duties, identifying hazards,” the court’s findings read.

The Coles store in Woden.
The exterior of the Woden store. Source: Google Maps

The findings also stated that the area where the grape was dropped “was not an area that would be regularly passed by staff”.

“A system of dedicated inspection would have detected a grape or other spill or slip hazard in the area,” the judgement read. “If a reasonable system would have included hourly (or more frequent) inspection, the probability is that such a system would have prevented the harm that occurred.”

The woman was awarded a total of $27,309.

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